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31.8.17

Where Does the Time Go?!

Holy dog ... er -- cow.

It's been a week already since I posted about losing track of what day it was?  Wow.

Great.  Now I'm missing entire weeks of my life.


I've noticed, however, that the dog doesn't really care about such things.  Unless you aren't feeding him when he's hungry, keeping him supplied with something good to drink, aren't scratching his belly, aren't giving him a reason to run around and ricochet off of stuff like a bullet or telling him how good looking and wonderful he is, he really couldn't care less.

Wait.  Was that me I just described?
JM(M)

25.8.17

My superpower: "Forgetting Things"


It's pretty simple, really.

When CRS strikes, you know it.   You just Can't Remember Shit (CRS).

When I got to work this morning, I thought today was Thursday.  No.  Really.  It wasn't until I opened a journal I open every morning to make an entry and the book told me it was Friday that I realized something was wrong.

Well.

At first I was mad because obviously I had dated the pages of the journal incorrectly ... of *course* I didn't believe the book.  So I looked at the bottom right corner of my computer monitor on my desk ... it also said 'Friday, August 25th.'


WHAT?

"No way," I thought to myself.  I might have even said that aloud.


I was squinting at the computer monitor (yeah, I should probably update my glasses prescription, too) trying to confirm the computer monitor's date/time reading when the lady on the morning TV news suddenly, and thankfully, said 'Happy Friday!'    Holy crap ... I'd forgotten it was Friday?


Now I'd been stuck on *Wednesdays* before when it was really *Thursday,* and that's usually a *good* thing!  But never had I screwed up a *Friday.*   Even though I'd still gotten a "free day," it was still a little disconcerting for a while.  But I was able to stifle my concerns until getting home to sit down to tell you all about it here via your ... whatever modern gadget or dooflicky with which you are reading this.

So it's official.  I probably don't have Alzheimer's, but I definitely have CRS.

The good news:  CRS is normal and usually not something to worry about.  Sometimes it's correctable and sometimes it even fixes itself.   In my case, I've not been getting enough sleep.  Like 4 or less hours a night this past week.  So I'm going to go with that.  But we all must at some point consider accepting the fact that, fortunately or unfortunately, as our families, friends and coworkers will often say, "we're getting old."

Yep.  These "senior moments" are all a part of growing up.  Just like puberty. Troubling as they may seem - and sometimes more troubling than at other times - they are just simple memory lapses due to any one of a number of things.  In the case of those of us who still refuse to acknowledge that we are getting older and we're not Peter Pan, we can call it "absentmindedness."   But, with that, we must also then understand and accept that we will find our moments of absentmindedness increase as we get older.  Me?  I'll probably accept that right about at that time when I have to say goodbye and join all those who have gone before me into the great unknown.


Forgetting to take your keys or cellphone when you leave the house or the office: NORMAL.  Not remembering where you put the pen or notebook that you had in your hand only minutes or seconds before: NORMAL.   Not being able to recall something someone said only moments before or recall someone's name as fast as you'd like or the name of a common item: NORMAL.  All these 'senior moments' are attributable to getting older as well as to simply being distracted and are nothing to worry about.  You were thinking of something else, daydreaming, if you will.  Not a problem.  Chill.

I know I will often rationalize, usually not seriously, that *I* am distracted by shiny things or pondering some other, more important thoughts usually involving quantum physics or some biomechanical engineering concept at any given time when I'm supposed to be paying attention to something else, and I miss things that are obvious to everyone else in the room.

One must be careful with that rationalization, however.

As is shown, for example, in the recent documentary about the late Glen Campbell's dealing with Alzheimer's disease entitled "I'll Be Me," he is often heard to explain away his troubling early signs of Alzheimer's with excuses like "Oh I don't worry about that stuff" or with other similar excuses justifying to himself and others why he could not remember things ,,, like the day of the week, the current month of the year, etc.

What pushed my button to think about this so much this week was that I was a little worried one morning in my office this week.  A coworker, Kristin arrived and passed by another coworker, Mike, and me.  Everyone (including me, apparently) said 'hello' or 'good morning' or whatever.  A few minutes later, I asked Mike:  "Is Kristin coming in today?"

"Dude," he answered, "she *just* walked right by you and you said 'Hello!'"

The look of amazement on his face that said "Are you serious?  Do you really not remember her just passing in front of you and talking to her?!" (he might have even said that) was kinda ... worrisome.

Ya gotta hate it when that happens.

But, still, *weird* as this was, it was still attributable to just not paying full attention in the moment or having something else on my mind at the time of her arrival and it simply didn't fully register (or, in my case, at all!).  In my case ... I was likely not fully awake yet.  Like I said, I haven't been sleeping well ... or enough.

Fortunately I don't drive to work.

But, even with all this "don't worry" stuff, there can sometimes be cause for concern.

From the interwebs:

- 10 Early Signs of Alzheimer's

- When to worry about forgetfulness

The bottom line:  forgetting stuff is normal and it increases in frequency as we get older but, if you are concerned:  CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR.


What was your name again?

8:30.

Hello?  Do you forget things, too?  Trying using journals to remember stuff ...

I 'Journal' to help me remember things ... yeah ...


Journaling is good for your mental health.  Google it.  See?

I need so much mental improvement that I am required by law to use four and a half journals to help me keep track of my brain.  I also have a bunch of fountain pens which help make it more fun.


I manage to write in at least one of the four and a half journals I maintain every day, but the daily writing (in each) is often a difficult thing to keep up.  So I like to think of journaling as "the medicine" and the fountain pens as the "spoonful of sugar" to help the medicine go down.



It's a pretty tough tome.  I punched a little hole in the back of mine and ran some elastic string through it to hold it together and keep the pen from falling out, etc.  I actually write in this one several times throughout each day.  There's a post done 1st thing every morning and there are also entries made throughout the day (randomly and irregularly), lately and mainly, to record, track and analyze 'what I do,' and 'what happens,' at work each day.  And then, before retiring at night, I 'evaluate' the day a la 'Ben Franklin's system,' one which he made up when he was somewhere in his 20's, I think?  Here's an explanation of Franklin's 13 virtues system.

You could also use the BF13V as a planner, too, I guess - remind yourself to do stuff in the future and all that.  It's a rather innovative little journal at least *based* on a version of his but centered around observing his 13 virtues concept.  I try to not use it too much as a planner because then the planned things or scheduled stuff on certain dates and other reminder-future-kind of entries would take up too much space and detract from the effectiveness of the space I currently use to record all the notes about daily events and non-events, etc., ... we'll see.


The Benjamin Franklin 13-Virtues Journal is half journal of the day's events, half planner of 'What Good Shall I Do This Day?' and 'What Good Did I Do This Day?" and another half with a specific purpose to keep track of how you think you did each day with regard to keeping a tight rein on those 13 virtues thought by Dr. Franklin to be important in being a good person.  

RECOMMENDATION:   The lines and grid on the chart are better marked with a fine nib.  An 'M' or something too wet is going to mess up your book.


I also make daily entries in the 2nd most used of the four journals, mentioned in an earlier post (last week?).  It's called a "Leuchtturm1917 Some Lines a Day 5-Year Memory Notebook."

 

This one is specifically dedicated to memories of my Dad and was started on the day he passed away.   It has 365 pages, 1 page for each day of the year (labelled w/the month and day at the top-center of the page) and then each page is divided into 5 sections, each of which are labelled "20___."  So the only 'date' you enter in the journal is the last two digits of the year you're in ... your pages are already predesignated for 5 years.

Because of this 365-day design, 1 Jan to 31 Dec layout, many people who *really* need to be organized (or feel like they are, anyway) will purchase one of these journals and then decide not to start using it until January 1st.


Many people don't notice that the book comes with TWO ribbons/bookmarks for this reason.  One of the ribbons is to mark the date you started the journal and other is to mark where you are/where left off with your last entry.

But no.

"I'm starting mine on January first!"

"Why do they have TWO bookmark ribbons?"

"Why don't they have just *one* like everybody else?"

"This is weird!"


I also write in a 3rd journal every day, but I'm thinking that one might not count as a journal-journal.  It's the one I use at work.

My "work journal" (marked in the top photo on this page) is a nice rustic-looking, leather-bound coupling of 2 inexpensive lined notebooks; they're glued in and will need to be rrrrrrripped out when I'm done.  The 1st notebook is marked "Work Stuff" and 2nd one marked "Personal Stuff."  And that's how I think of it - "My notebook for work" more than "a journal."  I've been using it since around the June timeframe, when it was thoughtfully willed to me by Kathy Donovan when she retired after a bajillion years in the U.S. Navy.

Then there's the "Good Journal."  Also called the "Cracker Barrel Journal."  I actually have 4 of them and am about halfway thru the 1st of that group.  If you find one at a "Cracker Barrel Country Store," let me know, will ya?

Cracker Barrel Journals
I write longer entries in this one but not as often and always use cursive handwriting in this one to 'practice.'  I use pretty much 'block printing' in the other journals (I need 'room' to use cursive!) and I often go days without putting anything in it.  It's become handy as a good place to put (or "post") stuff that I can't post on Facebook because they'd probably ban me again or publish on this blog because I don't want you to know things like I think you're kid is ugly or that you dress funny.

Oh ... almost forgot.   The .5th (the "halfth?") is a little passport-sized, leather-bound 'field notes' journal (sometimes called a 'Fauxdori' rather than a 'Midori' ... Google it) which comfortably fits three little notebooks; it's either in my jacket, on my desk or in the car with me ... it's for things like phone numbers, names, things to remember to Google, etc., etc.

SO!

If I have 4.5 freakin' journals to write notes about stuff, to plan and to keep track of stuff -- how come it is that I can't remember what day it is?


18.8.17

HACKING!!

HACK.


There are a lot of meanings for the word "hack."  

Most commonly of late, maybe:  "My Facebook account has been hacked!"  Your account isn't really hacked, actually, it's ... nevermind, that's a good topic for another morning.

HACK.  A hack, to hack, hacking, hacked, hacker, hacks, hack's ... there are other meanings and uses for the word but, in the case of the coffee mug in the photo above, it was the name of an eatery in Bethlehem, PA which I don't believe exists any longer - at least not at it's former location.  

Places are like that.  They can close up shop and move.  Sometimes you have advance notice that they're closing, sometimes you don't.  Sometimes you know where they went if they went, sometimes you don't.  Usually, especially if you liked the place a lot, you'd like to know where they went and if you can't go there like you used to, it can be upsetting. 

Sometimes a lot.  

The coffee mug in the picture above was my Dad's.  I was considering taking it to work to become 'my coffee mug' but, considering my history with coffee mugs at the various places in which I've worked (I usually lose them or break them), I'm thinking that a good place for it is on my desk at home ... by my computer keyboard ... where I'm a hack.  Where I hack.  Where I've been hacked.  Now there's an appropriate coffee mug with me when I'm there to remind and motivate me that there is usually more than one way to look at something, whether it's straight on and wearing blinders so you're not distracted, or from afar so you can see what's around it and what may be affecting its condition or its behavior, or whether you look at it like this:

This is how people look at me when they think I'm not watching them.  :)

I spend a lot of time at this spot.  Here at my desk.  The spot where my Hack's mug now resides.  My time here is usually spent reflecting on one thing or another, reading, riting, researching, plotting and planning, carrying out strategic preemptive strikes and other stuff like that.  Another important part of having a good spot like this is the ability to also be able to listen to your favorite music.  Speakers, headphones, earbuds, 33s, 45s, 8-tracks, cassettes, CDs, MP3s, whatever.  It's important to always have your favorite music somewhere where you can get at it.  You don't have to have it connected to your head all the time ... you will miss a lot of the world or get hit by a truck if you walk around with ear-things on your head listening to your music nobody else likes.  

But it's good to listen to your favorite music when you want to.  And when you need to.

Worthy of note is that, here at my spot lately, I've foregoing the keyboard somewhat for the written word.  In cursive.  Journaling.  And I've converted to using fountain pens for this purpose - for journaling.  Suddenly I'm picturing that development as if I've been transformed into a vampire, why is that?  Seriously, the way fountain pens look and work and feel in your hand when you write; the way you don't have to apply pressure when you write ... and the way the handwritten word looks on a page is somehow more gratifying (if that's the word I'm looking for) than if I just banged everything out on this keyboard.  See?  If gratifying wasn't the word I was looking for, I'd have had to cross it out or lined it out, but I didn't.  I *should* have deleted it, but I didn't do that because I knew I wanted to make this stupid point about one of the differences between handwriting with a fountain pen or using a freakin' keyboard.

Leuchtturm1917 "Some lines a day 5-year journal"

One of the journals which I am hacking through on a daily basis since recently is a Leuchtturm1917 "Some lines a day 5-year journal."  (pictured above)

If you ever considered keeping a journal 'but don't like to write' or 'feel that you can't make the commitment,' this tome may be for you.  It doesn't leave you much room to write more than a sentence or two on any given day, but it lets you do so for up to five years.  There are 365 pages, each one dated and each one divided into five sections, one for each year.  

  • Got an idea for a project?
    This is a good way to track it or force yourself to think about it every day.
  • Starting a diet?
    This is a good way to track your progress.
  • Starting a workout program?
    ... get the idea?
    ***

I just thought I'd share all this info with you about my coffee mug, how people look at me funny, and one of the journals I write in.   The real reason I'm banging away on this keyboard is because I should probably be sleeping, but I can't.

My Dad would have frowned upon talking about myself so much or about my stuff, but I thought this post was important -- and he also very much believed in being persistent and not giving up on something if you thought it was important; even to the point of not giving up when most people would think you probably should.  He held out to the last second he could, my Dad.  And he left while listening to some of his favorite music.

Leuchtturm1917 makes good stuff, I'll probably put a link in here somewhere one of these days, don't be surprised if you see that.  It's not important.  I just want to.

Don't Be A Monkey

An oldie but a goodie.

I didn't write this maniacal & masterfully metaphorical masterpiece about monkeys, I just like to refer to it all the time.

But while we didn't write the thing, you and I sure could have! Please read the part after this ... rhyme?
Scientists placed 7 monkeys in a big cage.

From the top center of the cage, well beyond the reach of the monkeys, they hung a bunch of bananas.

Beneath the bananas: they placed a ladder.

Almost immediately, one of the monkeys spotted the bananas and began to climb the ladder.

As this monkey did so, scientists sprayed the monkey on the ladder with a strong jet of cold, cold water -- as well as the other 6 monkeys, too -- with ice cold water from a fire hose.

The screaming monkey on the ladder fell off - wet and freezing cold – and the other monkeys sat for a time on the floor - wet, cold, shivering and bewildered - bewildered, but thoughtful.  At least you would think.

Soon, the temptation of the bananas became too great, and another monkey began to climb the ladder. Again, the scientists sprayed that ambitious monkey with more freezing cold water as well as all the other monkeys, too.

Screaming angry wet monkeys ... and I bet at least one of 'em smelled really bad -- so you're now dealing with bewildered, hungry, wet, pissed off, stinky monkeys.  Nice.

Then -- a third monkey tried to climb the ladder to reach the bananas.

But!   Lo and behold,  the other monkeys, wanting to avoid the cold spray, pulled him off the ladder and beat the crap out of him!

The scientists then *removed* one of the monkeys from the group and a new monkey was introduced to the dynamic. Spotting the bananas, Mr. Newmonkey naively began to climb the ladder.

As you probably guessed, the other monkeys immediately pulled Mr. Newmonkey down and gave him a sound beating (they beat the crap out of him).

The scientists then removed a second original monkey from the cage and replaced him with a another new monkey. As with the first new monkey, the 2nd new monkey began to climb the ladder and, again, the other monkeys in the cage immediately pulled him down and beat him up – including the *first* new monkey who had never been sprayed by the fire hose!  Mr. Newmonkey, shame on you!

By the end of the experiment, after *all* the monkeys had been replaced and none of the original monkeys were left: despite *none* of them ever experiencing the stabbing cold, wet jet spray blast from the fire hose: *none* of them dared to ever even *think* try for the bananas!

Why?

Because that’s the way they’d always done it around there.

Don't follow the behavior of others in or out of the office just because they say so or "that's the way it's done."

... think for yourself.   Or, if you're like a lot of other people, watch out for Mr. Newmonkey, he'll probably screw up your day.

Differences

Most current post rescued from the old blog (before they blow it up because I'm moving it to GOOGLE from GoDaddy) after returning to 'Murica about 1 year ago (in September) after first heading that way in June of 2003:


One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed about The States after being away for a while: Everything’s “Online”

The biggest difference I’ve noticed so far since being back after quite a while is “how you get stuff.” It’s all “online.” Grooming appointments for the dog, online. Food: online. Paying rent and communicating with my apartment building’s management: online. Pizza, booze, almost everything else: online. Online online online. Blehh.

Is it only a only a matter of time before we can "Fill 'er up" online?  Actually, you can kinda do that, can't you, sorta?  Aren't we already able to get gas for our cars online and I just haven’t figured out how to do that yet?

Everything can be, and often is, found and ordered online compared to “the old-fashioned way” of getting it by driving to a store and actually shopping (looking around, touching, etc.) and maybe even actually talking to an employee/salesperson before buying it. 

You can order crap-food from McDonald's and have it delivered to your house!!!

Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m aware that many Americans had been ordering stuff online while I was stationed in Italy; Amazon Prime and all that, but I didn’t.  I was apparently one of the ignorant few who held fast to buying stuff by actually going to the store. If it wasn’t there, I didn’t get it. Kind of like “you don’t know what you don’t know,” except in this case it was “you can’t buy what’s not there.”

Since I’ve been back here for just short of two weeks, we’ve ordered pizza online and had it delivered.  Ordered (way too expensive) burgers and then picked them up from a place downstairs and right next to our apartment building! I couldn’t help but think “Why not just walk down there, order it and maybe talk to someone while you wait for it?” Don’t ask me, I didn’t make these changes, someone else did. And, rather than speaking to someone on the phone about my cable channel “package,” I customized it online before committing to paying for it.  I *did* “chat” (typed) back and forth with a cable-rep and asked them at one point “wouldn’t this be easier if I called you on the phone?”  At that point I was told “No sir, this is how we do this” or something similar that made no real sense to me.
Much like when you actually *do* speak to a ‘Tad,’ or ‘Jim’ or ‘Lisa’ or ‘Sue,’ when dealing with a Customer Service department - but you detect a distinct accent that tells you that Customer Service Call Center is probably not located anywhere in the United States, I was pretty sure they didn’t want to talk to me because of a similiar geographic issue.

No matter how hard they try to convince you that they're in Texas or anywhere else in the U.S., sometimes ya just *know* they're not. I copy/pasted the whole conversation and captured a few sentences which definitely indicated the same thing: that the ‘chat’ was with someone on a different continent. No big deal, after about TWO HOURS of typing tho, I was actually able to get what I thought was a better “cable package” for cheaper.

SO ANYWAY, this afternoon I was looking for a table, a ‘bistro table’ they call them, to put on our balcony. After breaking down and succumbing to this new process (does ‘succumbing’ in any way related to “succubus?” It would be appropriate!) and looking around at various kinds of “available” (well, ‘available’ meaning something different now, remember) little tables at all the big store online sites for places like Sears, Walmart, Costco, Sam’s, Lowe’s, Office Depot, Home Depot, etc., I went to the place with the closest thing to what I wanted (Lowe’s) and, after the quasi-expected disappointment (it wasn’t what I thought it would be) I found I was fortunately in an area which had a bunch of other stores around it: not a “mall” in the traditional sense, more like a “commercial store area” that seemed to be built up and developed with that specific purpose in mind.

Table bought in person vice online.

So I drove around and I found this “home stuff” store that’s kinda hard to describe. It had all sorts of “home stuff” in it (duh), one of which was lots of “stools” and “benches” and stuff, mostly for indoor use. And I found this one here nicely modeled by Duke, which *immediately* reminded me of my late Uncle David whose hobby was woodworking. He was known for his walking sticks and canes he used to show and sell at art shows as well as on a website I made for him on one of my earlier websites called “Artsticks.”

Uncle David's "Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake XVI"
Uncle David used to carve his sticks and canes from solid logs, the most impressive being his “snake sticks” which people were always surprised to learn weren’t 2 pieces of would (stick inserted through spiraled snake).

So when I saw this wooden table which was an imperfect slice of a log made into a functional piece of art by filling in the gaps with lucite (I guess) and mounting it on legs, it reminded me of Uncle David and the nights I’d spent camping with my Dad and him, my cousins and my grandfather (Uncle David’s brother) when Uncle David would just be carving sticks at the campfire ‘just to carve them’ -- way before he “got serious” with the snakesticks and other cool stuff you can still see on his website.

It was a no brainer. I got it. And I love it.

My point: it was “the actual shopping,” the “being there” that brought me to the table. I wouldn’t have found it otherwise because it’s not online.

The salesperson who saw me “looking around” even helped me look at a few other little tables *and* they gave me a discount (amounted to -$8, hey, better than a stick in the eye, right (pun intended)) because he agreed with me after the conversation we had (one you can’t have with a website, although you might be able to leave them feedback via an e-mail!) about the store’s cool, odd and assorted and eclectic collection of stuff that, even though they’re a chain store, was different in each of their stores and no store had all the same stuff. As a matter of fact, I think I got the two chairs on my balcony from another one of these same stores and this particular store had no idea what I was talking about when I asked someone for a little table to go with the two chairs I’d gotten at ‘one of their other stores.’

We agreed that it’s no fun anymore and you “can’t shop right” online and all that jazz I’ve already written about “shopping and interacting in person being better than ordering online” and that it’s not as “fun” to choose stuff from a picture and then either having it delivered or picking it up at a store ... a store that *used* to actually *have* your item there for you to pick up, but now only has a picture of it on their website. And after you click on it and put it in “your cart” (which I think will soon be as funny as the picture of a 3.5” floppy used as the button to ‘save’ things, but many people don’t remember 3.5” floppy disks anymore just as I’m guessing they’ll collectively soon forget what a “shopping cart” is) you click some other button and then either have it delivered to your house -- where you’ve been sitting on your ass doing nothing but gaining weight from lack of exercise ... so you order magic weight loss pills or some other gimmick to help you lose the weight you gained from running your life online instead of on your feetses.

And they don’t have “enough stuff” in the stores anymore, either, I don’t think. That’s part of the fun: looking at stuff while you’re there with the intent of getting something else! I even went to a place called they called a “Super Store.” But there they only had “the latest and greatest” models. If you wanted something else (an earlier model of something, for example), as I said: you need to order it from their website and they’ll have it delivered to the store or your door the next day from some mysterious warehouse on the outskirts of town. Can’t blame ‘em ... nice business model, but it’s NO FUN.

PREDICTION: These mysterious warehouses on the outskirts of town from which our ‘overnight deliveries’ come from will soon be also accessible to the public as showrooms and we’ll be able to purchase stuff there since we’ll be saving the company the costs involved in magically delivering it after we clickity click on their websites, maybe?

... and won't that be like going back to how it used to be done?  They can save money by having us go to them for our stuff instead of the expenses involved in all this 'home delivery' thing?  I dunno.  What do *I* know?

17.8.17

Sophia



Sophia will be 83 on September 20th of this year.

Sophia Loren was born as Sofia Scicolone at the Clinica Regina Margherita in Rome, Italy, on September 20, 1934.

Her father, Riccardo Scicolone, was married to another woman and refused to marry her mother, Romilda Villani, despite the fact that she was the mother of his two children (Sophia and her younger sister Maria Scicolone).

Growing up in the slums of Pozzuoli during the second World War without any support from her father, she experienced much sadness in her childhood.

Her life took an unexpected turn for the best when, at age 14, she entered into a beauty contest where she placed as one of the finalists.

It was there that Sophia caught the attention of film producer Carlo Ponti, some 22 years her senior, whom she eventually married in 1966 once he finally obtained a divorce from his first wife.

Some quotes attributed to Sophia:

“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”

“Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.”

“I've never tried to block out the memories of the past, even though some are painful. I don't understand people who hide from their past. Everything you live through helps to make you the person you are now.”

“Sex appeal is fifty percent what you've got and fifty percent what people think you've got.”

“A woman's dress should be like a barbed-wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view.”

“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.”

“Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful.”

“If you haven't cried, your eyes cannot be beautiful”

“After all these years, I am still involved in the process of self-discovery. It's better to explore life and make mistakes than to play it safe. Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.”

“Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.”

“Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with great inner drive, go so much further than people with vastly superior talent.”

“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. You are connected to your child and to all those who touch your lives. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.”

“It's a mistake to think that once you're done with school you need never learn anything new.”

“Spaghetti can be eaten most successfully if you inhale it like a vacuum cleaner.”

“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.”

"Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with the inner drive, go much farther than people with vastly superior talent”

“You must all, somewhere deep in your hearts, believe that you have a special beauty that is like no other and that is so valuable that you must not abandon it. Indeed, you must learn to cherish it.”

“At the dressing table, every woman has a chance to be an artist, and art, as Aristotle said, "completes what nature left unfinished.”

“Food makes people happy, it takes you back home, it says so many things that words can’t say.”

“Discipline is the great equalizer. If a young woman is beautiful but has no discipline, she will lose her looks as she grows older. If a plain woman is disciplined she will undoubtedly become more beautiful with time.”

“I have my own peculiar yardstick for measuring a man: Does he have the courage to cry in a moment of grief? Does he have the compassion not to hunt an animal? In his relationship with a woman, is he gentle? Real manliness is nurtured in kindness and gentleness, which I associate with intelligence, comprehension, tolerance, justice, education, and high morality. If only men realized how easy it is to open a woman's heart with kindness, and how many women close their hearts to the assaults of the Don Juans.”

“Every opportunity is a big opportunity,”

“As time passed there was no more buying food, no money, no supplies. On some days, we wouldn’t even have a crumb to eat. There’s a vivid scene in Nanni Loy’s The Four Days of Naples, a movie made after the war about the uprising of the Neapolitans against the occupying Germans, in which one of the young characters sinks his teeth into a loaf of bread so voraciously, so desperately, I can still identify with him. In those four famous days in late September, when Naples rose up against the Germans—even before the Allies arrived, it was the climax of a terrible period of deprivation and marked the beginning of the end of the war in Italy.”

“You have to believe in marriage and you have to believe in a relationship between two people. If you really think in your life that you have found the right person, you have to stick to it, even though there are ups and downs. If you really believe in your union, you have to nourish it and work for it, then you can really spend your life together forever.” 

― Sophia Loren

USS BATAAN (LHD 5)

Fri - Mon
10 - 13 October 2014:
Almost a 4-day weekend ... 


My wife and I spent a few hours of "off time" with the crew of USS BATAAN (LHD 5) this holiday weekend (Saturday evening).

Someone on the staff of the area Admiral thought it would be a good idea to have a reception aboard the ship for the Admiral to meet some of the local movers and shakers. To be clear: we weren't there as "movers" or "shakers." We was workin' ...

From all accounts received, the little soire went well. I wouldn't know, though. As usually happens, I stayed on the pier after all guests were aboard. But I actually prefer to hang out with the drivers, Security guys, cops, Carabinieri and other support peeps. It's become "Standard Operating Procedure." And I always enjoy meeting folks at the gate as they come in as well as all the folks who are assigned to various posts on the pier. My wife got to go aboard, though - her 1st time on a Navy ship - so that was kinda cool.

I'm not complaining, but I would have liked to go with my wife and get a picture of her in an Osprey or Hornet or something. She was well cared for, though, and properly escorted, so that was good. She was there volunteering as a translator (English-Italian and the other way around).

This time, like on other occasions after "working the gate" and all the guests have arrived for such events -- I was a sweaty mess after all was said and done. I really wasn't "presentable" nor in the mood to "be sociable."

And *this* time, I had also been sideswiped by a bus (my right side covered in bus-dirt from almost getting run over by a liberty bus) and the only returning Sailor who had too much to drink while on liberty returned to the pier and chose my car to hide behind while he ... well ... for lack of a better phrase: *puked his guts out.*

I found this out when I went to move my car later and splashed his gift on my shoes and pants cuffs ...

"When you're all sweaty and covered in bus dirt and Sailor puke, it's best not to hang around 'clean people.' Some of them don't like that."

My life. My rules.
- JM(M) -

DREAM ANALYSIS: "House of Spit and Snot"


"I HAD A DREAM!" - M.K. King, Jr.

(I did, too. But I don't think MLK's was about a house full of spit and snot.) 

Here's the best graphic illustration I could find:

The only thing similar about that Ibex spitting in the reporter's face and my dream is ... not much.   I just thought it was funny. :)

The dream:

My wife and I were in Las Vegas (don't know why) and I was going to get the car. It's at night. I don't know, maybe we were at a casino or the "Gold and Silver Pawn Shop" or something (it's on our bucket list).

We probably weren't at a casino, because most of them have parking ... and in the dream I had to walk a few blocks from wherever we were.

I was walking uphill and it was rainy, dark and the streets were shiny just like you might imagine how they spray down a movie/TV set to look that way ... and I was thinking that in the dream "Wow, this looks like I'm walking into a murder scene in "CSI."

I couldn't figure out where the car was and eventually decided I was lost. So did I turn around? Noooo. I decided to turn to my left and open some random unmarked door to what could have been a store or an apartment building ... it was just a dark, random door.

It turns out there's nothing IN this 'building' and I end up walking through it to "the back" and out the back door. Except the "back door" didn't go back outside ... this is where it turns into "The House of Spit and Snot."

It was some kind of twisted "Fun House."

But it was weird, it wasn't a "Haunted House" like some make for Halloween, but it wasn't a "Fun Houses" anymore. Maybe they don't have 'em any more? The last one I knew of was in Bushkill, PA and it was pretty much detroyed in a flood. It had stuff in it like "stairs" that would tilt back and forth as you climbed up, a big tube that turned as you walked through it, just fast enough to keep you from being able to walk straight ... mirrors that made you look weird, stuff like that.

This was "The House of Snot and Spit." I knew because it had a big flashing neon sign that read: "House of Snot and Spit."

But it was similar to a Fun House or Haunted House in that you had to walk along a path to get through it and out the other side ... and this path was ... well, full of snot and spit.

There were little animated character heads that "spit" at you. I can't recall if they were clowns or animals or just weird little characters, but they were all definitely spitting.

At first I thought "Meh, no big deal ... water. It's not spit. But if someone spits water at you and then someone spits "spit" on you ... you can tell the difference.

Some of the heads were on the floor spitting UP at me, some of 'em were along the walls. Some of 'em were hockin' loogies (spitting snot laden spit, for those of you who never heard that phrase). Some of that snot was spit *at* me, some of them were being spit onto the floor.

And there was spit and snot that seemed to just be emanating from somewhere ... covering the walls and floors making it very slippery (slick as snot! (BWAH hah!). It was like the object of this "House of Snot and Spit" thing was to get through it without falling on your ass.

And I remember thinking that ... in the dream. "I can do this! I can make it without falling down." But I was also (duh) really not wanting to fall down ... I'd have been covered in slime and ... eeesh.

I did pretty well! I blocked spit and loogies from above and below and left and right ... and I kept my footing. Then there were stairs at the end ... stairs that went down where I could see the door out of "The House of Snot and Spit."

I made it down the stairs! I was 10 feet from the door and slipped and fell; I got up quickly, though.

The last thing I recall was, after leaving the place, I was headed back to wherever it was I came from and pleasantly surprised that I was not too covered in as much snot or spit as I had thought.

But if you're a guy and have ever had a mustache ... you know how difficult it can be to blow your nose and not be kinda gross (so you generally do that somewhere where nobody can see you if you get snot all over your moustache).

And just before I woke up, I realized I had snot all over my moustache. And I had nothing to wipe it with ... so I used my sleeve. And when I did so I realized *I WAS* all covered in slime and snot and ... well ..

Then I woke up. Wasn't drooling ... hadn't sneezed ... no snot or spit to be found anywhere. I have no idea what I might have seen, read or heard yesterday that might have put "snot and spit" in my head that a weird dream like that might have resulted.

We're always talking about moving to Las Vegas, so that explains the location setting.

I dunno. What do you think?

Facebook Follies Finale

FACEBOOK DOESN'T MAKE SENSE.

So here's the latest missive from "The Facebook Team:"



Did you catch: "The name you requested suggests that what your Page is about has changed, which can be confusing ... " and then my 'name-change request' (at bottom of graphic) which was to change the damned name from "John Musser" to "John Musser - My Life and Times?"

Is it just me? So, using their own "skewed logic" I changed "John Musser" to "MyLifeandTimes.Org." Maybe that will work.

Here's another example of 
"The Facebook Team" and their clarity:

Go looking for "merging" in their overdone "Help" section and you will find this rather blunt bit of information:

They can't do that. "We don't currently offer a way to merge 2 acounts ... "

  Now try searching with "merging pages:"



I suppose it was my fault for just using "merge" instead of "merging."

To be fair, here we learn that there apparently are at least two "definition of terms" issues here; a "PROFILE" and a "PAGE." Question: is an "ACCOUNT" another type of ... "page?"

I don't know ... I'm way too worn out just trying to get them to change my "John Musser" to "John Musser - My Life and Times" and not try to tell me that YOU are TOO STUPID and will now think that the content of the two is somehow different.

So I poked around and found the "Merge Pages" button that I found a few days ago and submitted (when they told me that the names of my pages were too different (One was "John Musser" and one was "My Life and Times." That's where I submitted the request for the name change. Get it?

I don't know ... you tell me. Would the 2 pages below confuse you if someone asked for them to be merged into one page instead of being 2 pages?


The page I wanted to make as a "Blog thing page:"



My personal page at the time:


So ... I REsubmitted the same request I submitted to "The Facebook Team" originally (see post from earlier this month).  I can't wait for their next answer/problem with my request.

2017 UPDATE:

I actually got tired of copying this over from the old blog because it was wearing ME out trying to follow it!  Long story short ... they ended up making me a "blog thing page" which was separate from my personal page.   'Nuff said.  But man was it a pain in the butt ... someone basically said (her name was "Dora," I think)  "Ohhhhh!  I get it!  You want a personal page for family and friends but you also want to have one as a page for like a BLOG!"  As it turned out ... I started keeping journals ... never really did anything with the stupid 2nd "group" page ... Hmm.   All the effort wasn't worth it ... sometimes it's like that.

- JM(M) -

Facebook Follies 2

One of the things I learned in the Navy: "There's a waiver for almost everything."


"The Lacebook Team" - Changing things
Y'know how, sometimes, when you desperately need help from some company of one sort or another ... let's say, oh -- a book company that makes "Lacebooks" ... you look and poke and search around the website of the Lacebook company and you feel like you've found proverbial 'Golden Egg' if you can find a way of contacting someone - a real person - who can help you with your 'Level 1 Red Lacebook Alert' crisis you're having? They certainly don't make it easy for you to find an email address, a phone number ... nothing. You're lucky if you find a mailing address.

My advice:

Keep poking around. Keep looking for any "fillable form" on their site or nook or cranny which will accept input. Then use that form (it will usually have a 'SEND' or 'SUBMIT' button on it) and send your message to them that way.

If the only "input form" they have is to apply for a freakin' job, use all the spaces to type your message to whomever you want to get it. Even better: if they allow the upload of .doc or .pdf attachments ... send your note that way. Or embed it in a .jpg file if they accept those. Or maybe, find a section where they might accept "feedback" or maybe complaints about not having a way to contact them."

Another good one: "FamousPerson@Lacebook.Com!"

​(There's always "a way-fer everything.")


This is a "Lacebook."  What?  What did you think I was talking about?


Now ...
Here's the story of grandma's 'Lacebook' fiasco:

It had always annoyed Grandma how Lacebook seemed to just DO things without asking; with no interaction with their customers or anything. It was obvious: "They knew what grandmas wanted." And what was really cool: they knew this stuff without ever asking her or any of the other grandmas who used Lacenook. Stuff would just, all of a sudden ... be different!

Like, sometimes, Lacebook would change the colors and designs of their Lacebook covers from what all of the grandmas were used to using. Or the Lacebook company would change the actual size of the Lacebook pages. This made it very very difficult to make the new Lacebook pages work right with older Lacebooks and all the grandmas would have to redo their layouts and designs.

Yep, all the grandmas would have to rearrange their pictures and their recipes and saucy pictures of themselves having picnics in the park and other things on their Lacebook pages and then, on any given (Sun)day, they'd go to the store to buy more pages for their Lacebooks and find that the new pages didn't fit or look as they needed and now everything was all screwed up.

This happened a lot. And the grandmas always chattered like monkeys and sputtered and spit cuss words like "dag nabbit" and stuff ... and then they had to figure out how to make their Lacebook pages.

And then, one day, Grandma had an idea. Grandma decided to be brave and COMBINE an old Lacebook with a newfangled one ... and in doing so: she broke it. So Grandma's made phonecalls and sent letters to the Lacebook people to ask them to help her with her project. She even went to see them but: nothing.

But as the story goes: one morning, Grandma found a short note from the Lacebook "Team" (that's what they called themselves, "The Lacebook Team") in her mailbox. The Lacebook people told her "we have decided not to help you, because we don't like the way you titled your Lacebooks, they need to have titles that are more alike."

So she renamed her Lacebooks so they were similar, just as The Lacebook Team" asked her to do. They sent her another letter.

"DENIED!" it said. "We didn't mean the names of your Lacebook *pages,* Grandma, we meant YOUR name. You call yourself "Grandma" on one and "Grandmother" on the other ... that doesn't make us happy and you need try again."

"And when you submit your next request for our help," they continued please submit proper documentation that will somehow sufficiently prove to "The Lacebook Team" that these Lacebook pages are yours and that you're not starting to start a "Lacebook Series" and try to make money like that J.K. Rowling lady who should have gotten in trouble for writing books while she was at work!" These Lacebook people were really getting demanding.
So she did. She had Mr. GoDaddy's receipt for her purchase of her Lacebook page (Mr. GoDaddy was in cohoots with The Lacebook Team," but he was much nicer and easier to deal with when such problems arose. She sent a copy of her receipt from Mr. GoDaddy in the mail to The Lacebook Team.

... and she waited.

She got another letter from them. It read:

"Hi,
Thanks for submitting a request to change your Page's name. We'll review your request and respond to you soon. Please keep in mind that submitting multiple requests won't result in a faster response.

For additional questions about your Lacebook Page, please visit the Help Center:
https://www.facebook.com/help/pages

Thanks,
The Lacebook Team


This "Help Center" to which they referred was one of those pages that has no answers, but asks you to rate their information on a scale of 1 to 10 (because they caught on to her method of using feedback forms to send messages). So she used the "1-10 Rating Page" several times and sent them old-fashioned cusswords in binary code ... stingers like "Shucks!" and "Gosh!" and "Pshaw!"

And then ... she waited some more:
AS OF 7.9.2014, STILL WAITING



Facebook Follies

5.9.14


SO ... what *used* to be my personal profile located at Facebook/JohnMusser is now what I wanted to be located at Facebook/MyLifeandTimes.Org ... I've sent Facebook an SOS to see if they can help. I'll keep you posted.
  • I sent a note to Facebook via their "deactivated account appeal form." (This is a form which is most likely to be used if THEY deactivate your account, but it is the only interactive form I can find on the site to communicate with anyone):
Here's the story:

The account was deactivated because I screwed up. But *I* deactivated it after being interrupted with the intent of returning the next day to continue the "conversion" process."

After I returned, I found something preventing me from (what I thought was) reactivating it and creating a community page from my personal profile (7000+ friends and followers makes following my newsfeed a bitch). I am hoping you can fix my screw-up.

*I deactivated the account* with the intent of returning to setting it up the next day (merging my personal profile to a page (friends and followers, like 7000+) so I figured it was time to merge the blog to it.

THE PROBLEM: You guys do it, AND so does the "WebsiteBuilder" which I use on my site hosted at "GoDaddy" (obviously the site is mylifeandtimes.org).

So here's what happened:

https://www.facebook.com/JohnMusser <= this was my original profile which I was attempting to turn into a page to be connected to my blog and is now the page holding my (intended blog readers). GoDaddy's "Website Builder" has a feature which, as it turns out CREATES a page (I don't believe it CONVERTS the page like your feature does) it just creates a whole new page ... and therein lies my problem: The URL "/JohnMusser" is now my "page" containing the folks I accumulated ... but it was supposed to be: https://www.facebook.com/MyLifeandTimes.Org (which exists but ... is just kinda sitting there ... deactivated). That's the page I created via GoDaddy's WebsiteBuilder.

THE PROBLEM CAME ABOUT WHEN: I was interrupted mid-converting-process and lost track of what I was doing after I came back the next day to continue.

As follows:
-----------------------------------
BTW: Fortunately, I *did* successfully create a personal profile/page and should be able to create to keep in contact with family and friends.
-----------------------------------
But I would still like to move the "/JohnMusser" into the "MyLifeandTimes.Org" page.
-----------------------------------
HOW I SCREWED UP:
I created the page: https://www.facebook.com/MyLifeandTimes.Org with GoDaddy's WebsiteBuilder, with the intent of merging "/JohnMusser" into it.

I was interrupted, and deactivated it until I could return to the process the next day, which I did.

When I reactivated "/MyLifeandTimes.Org" (via Facebook) and returned to the process of "converting profile to a page," I did so CONTINUING to use FACEBOOK's page conversion tool (and not GoDaddy's).

Ooops.

I could not for the life of me figure out why I couldn't merge JohnMusser to MyLifeandTimes.Org per your instructions when it had been going so SMOOTHLY the day before!

So now what was SUPPOSED to be located at: https://www.facebook.com/MyLifeandTimes.Org is located at: https://www.facebook.com/JohnMusser ...

Can you relocate /JohnMusser to /MyLifeandTimes.Org (which is what I was trying to do but messed up)?

Very respectfully,
John Musser
... blah blah blah ... email, phone numbers, etc.

WORDS WITH FRIENDS 2




Remember "Scrabble?"

​This is the same thing. Except you can play it with a crapload of people all over the world at the same time.

You can play it with people you don't know as well as those you do, did and will. And you can play it "at will" when you have time to look at the board and think.
And those of you who are cheating, I know who you are! :)

And yes, I'm late to the game ... by a coupla years. But I like it because it harkens back to the days when you'd sit around a gameboard with your little letter holders (a rotating board if you had the really cool edition) and play a game ... and talk.

You can do that with this version, too ... you can press a button and swear at your opponent, etc. Only issue: you can only play a game with one person. So to get around that, you play about 10 games at a time with 10 different people.

What do those computer and cellphone people have in store for us in their evil minds next? Being able to go outside and do stuff? Well, I guess that's what those bluetooth things are for. Hmmm.

Comments welcome and will not be published unless requested by commenter or I like it ... email addresses will not be published (and I'll even change your name if you say something REALLY embarrassing).

WORDS WITH FRIENDS 1


3.9.2014
O.B.W.W.F Today
(Overcome By Words With Friends)



"Words with Friends"

It's "Scrabble." And it's one of those things that I've been ignoring largely due to the negative affect of "Farmville" some years ago. But a recent visit home to Pennsylvania (specifically "Aunt Jo") got me hooked."

"What?!" exclaimed the resident young person inhabiting my couch, "You're just now getting around to finding out about this?!"

Whatever.

Banned from Facebook!


2.9.2014

Okay, so It's actually the 3rd of Sept., but I've been setting up (okay, wrestling with) this "venue" for me to vent since Facebook likes to "ban" me when I say things that they don't like ... no kidding ... we'll have coffee and talk.





The Facebook Police will ban you if someone sends in a complaint about something you posted ... a picture you posted ... a comment you made on one of THEIR posts that offended you, etc. Thus far, I've been banned twice ... and I never got an explanation.

Whatever. I've been meaning to start this thing; "do a blog" and have made a half dozen unsuccessful attempts at it. But you don't want to hear about that ... long boring stories about failures, blasie, blasie, blah.

Today's post has already been posted, actually. It's in regard to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which I was very proud to be involved in. So for today's post (I'm going to try and post daily) I'm going to cop out and use that. (Please navigate to the "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge" link wherever it is on your PC page or cellphone-version page of this thing.

​​Peace. - JM(M) -

2nd post, undated Sept. 2004


Okay. Day two. Mostly spent setting this sucker up.

The whole idea behind this thing is for both of us.

I need a place to put the stuff I write where I won't lose it. I do that a lot. Write. Sometimes it's good and I want to refer back to it, but I forgot where I put / saved it. So if you like to read (especially stuff from a non-traditional-thinking doofus,
great. I like to write and that makes us compatible.


Welcome!

I have decided to NOT provide a space for "comments" in the normal sense. In my past (read: failed) attempts to get one of these blog-thingers up and going, I was literally over-f'ing-whelmed with bots.

These "bots" were little "comment-leaving-bastards" and, whether I had a filtering device set up to separate readers (read: people) from the bullshit comments (read: bots) there were still SO MANY of them that it just became too much work to sit down and puke my guts onto my computer. I had to "sort out all the crap" so the machine wouldn't blow up. Actually, it wouldn't "blow up," but the computer people hosting my blog would keep sending me e-mails saying "Hey! You have comments! Go check 'em out!" ... and that affected by blood pressure and well ... yeah, "blow up" applies.

Today's efforts, as I said, have been on set up so that I can sit down and just puke whatever I want onto this thing. And you are certainly welcome to read it.

As I said, however, I am not going to have your standard "comments" feature. I will, however put a "feedback" page. That feedback will be "just for meeeeeeeee." If you wish to cuss me out or express your opinion, I will endure same (by reading your e-mail) ... and I make you this promise: ask/tell me to "REPOST THIS" and I will. I'm going to make a "Prize Winning Feedback" page (already have 1 winner ... Batgirl sent me a nice note) and on that page I will reprint all feedback, negative, positive or perverted (well, not *too* perverted) if the "comment-leaver" asks for their comment to be re-posted. One catch: if you wanna talk smack, leave your name so that can be posted, too. And your e-mail would help, so I can cuss back at you.

None of this "anonymous" crap. I will not publish your email, but I'd sure as hell enjoy the crap out of a private (or public) "debate."

I have always said: "No, I'm not *always* right; I'm just right until you can convince me otherwise." At least I think I said that ... did somebody else say that?

"Johnny Americano"


"Wey! Gianni Americano!"
   Experimental move of a post to The Book of Face ...
   Originally posted to FB on 17 May, 2014, 3:13am
   From the original MyLifeandTimes.Org blog, dated 1 Sep, 2004, 1:47am

   Reposted *here* on 17 August, 2017, 21:07 (now my head hurts ...)


Not long after I arrived and moved into my apartment, the neighbor kids dubbed me "Johnny Americano" or, more likely, "Gianni" Americano. They'd wave and yell "Wey! Gianni Americano!" as I came and went. I liked it. 




I was "Johnny Americano."

And I would often hear people singing a particular song all the time - or parts of it - (when I was around) that I called "Americano." It had a toe-tappy kinda catchy rhythm and tune but, all I could make out of the words -- since I didn't understand Italian -- was something about "I wanna be an Americano," and something about "Baseball, and Whiskey and Soda."

​*Then* ... when I found out that Sophia Loren, my 1st childhood "celebrity crush" (who am I kidding, I still love this woman and she's almost 80 as I write this) sang this song in one of her movies, I *really* liked the song. ​​



Then I found out that there was an original version by a guy named 'Renato Carosone' called "Tu vuò fà l'americano" or "You Want to Be American."


... but I still liked Sophia's version. This one was pretty good, though.

2012 UPDATE ... surfing around Youtube, I found a version done by one of my favorite musicians and his band at a concert of theirs recorded, of all places, in Japan.


** ANOTHER UPDATE! ** The annoying dance version which, for some reason the creators had requested to be locked up for quite a while and "for YouTube only" is now available to share! It's slightly annoying, but the video is kinda cool ... if you can stand it ...


As I said, most people find this rearranged pop-dance version, well ... annoying (ask my wife).  But my history with this song and my step-hometown of Casale di Principe kinda bound me to it.

And Sophia still reigned ... So there you have it ... a brief musical history of "Gianni Americano" ...